technology Hats and houses come from the 3-D printer. But this will not do solve all environmental problems
Hats, kayaks, large houses and small wind turbines, leather jackets and steaks. Every day media report on a three-dimensionally printed novelty , The third industrial revolution, as it evokes the economist Jeremy Rifkin, is in full swing. Everyone will soon be his own producer
Because no longer uses only the aircraft and automotive industries highly specialized, thousands of euros expensive 3-D printer for the development of prototypes and small series. For individuals, the devices are becoming more affordable: Some one is already available for 100 euros in the electric market today. While experts stress that the bargains are good for most gadgets and wish the print quality leaves something. But 3-D printing nourishes the current renaissance of do-it-yourself principle. Who has the last stroll found no matching lampshade created his favorite model on the screen and sends the data to its printer. The production of a small model car takes more than 20 hours.
3-D printers produce three-dimensional objects by applying materials in thin layers and harden. The most common devices print with two materials. Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS) is a pure plastic material, as used in Lego bricks. The printer heat it to 270 degrees. The alternative polylactic acid from corn starch and is therefore environmentally friendly, biodegradable and energy-saving – enough for the liquefaction pressure at 220 degrees. For objects are not dishwasher safe made from this material. Some devices allow the use of materials such as plaster or chocolate.
Many advocates see in 3-D printing is a revolution in our relations of production. Global value chains are a thing of the past, and with them the production of individual parts in widely separated locations lying, their emission-laden transport by road and by air to the place of their final production. If everyone its 3-D printer in the basement, then the local production of everyday objects reality. “3-D printers are changing our use of raw materials,” says MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld. Where previously lost through rough trimming and cutting material, promises 3-D printing using only as much as is actually necessary. In addition, the freight loses importance, and because of the saved transport routes would drop in greenhouse gas emissions, predicts the US think tank Center for Climate and Security.
But behind all this optimism lies a significant degree of naive faith in technology. The promise is: On the quantitative level of our wasteful consumer societies we need to change anything, technological developments will dissolve overproduction and littering in pleasure. That the 3-D printing mostly with liquid plastic (ABS) works, like into oblivion. But if the world one does not need, then it is even more plastic
Just the Institute the rebound effect has pointed for Ecological Economy Research in a study of 3-D printing on other possible problems, such as.: Who can even make a lamp shade easily and quickly, which can just as easily produce several lampshades, more than he actually needs. The better environmental performance of a single product is not required if it is made for it in higher quantities. In addition, just ran lay with her printer at home risk due to faulty settings of your device to print all batches of unusable products.
Let the hype about 3-D printer be connected to high expectations, in niches they have large potential. Approximately at consuming to producing parts such as prostheses. And if 3-D printer to reprint defective components perfectly, this is a real contribution to climate protection. Because the workshop tomorrow could make so all commodities functional again. Their resource-consuming new production would be superfluous.